A user-centric website can do wonders to a business by improving credibility and exposure. Not only it enhances user experience but helps to instill confidence on the products and/or services offered by the company
It is the responsibility of every designer to keep in mind the user prior to designing a website. When the primary focus remains on business objectives, fancy features along with the technical abilities of hardware and software tools, the user gets neglected which isn’t at all desirable. This in fact, contradicts the first and foremost rule of web design – designing for user experience.
The main objective of a user-centric website design is that, it increases the usability as well as the usefulness of a website. Though, different factors like efficient and easy information retrieval, navigability, relevancy of web content applies to both usability and usefulness but end users should always be the key focus. A user-centric website is built keeping in mind the perspective of the users along with their satisfaction.
Keeping a Minimum Memory Load
When a website is poorly designed, navigating it can turn out to be a taxing affair when it comes to average users memory. When users are forced to remember the meaning of specific website elements from one page to the other, it certainly leads to a frustrating experience. However, the situation can be easily tackled by making sure that all the screen elements are consistent and purposeful throughout the site. A good example comes in the form of CNN.com where not only the memory load is taken care of but, the overall website layout remains quite consistent.
Focus on Visibility
The main purpose of visibility is to help users figure out the various navigational aids available within the site. Users can instantly recognize what they can do and what they can’t, by using the navigational aids. As a result of that, predicting the effect of their actions becomes a lot easier. Apple.com is a perfect example of a website offerings its visitors with easy visibility and navigability. No matter where the user opts to click, he/she will always find it easy to move to another section as the navigation bar is easily visible, grabbing the attention.
To show that a website has been built keeping in mind the users, immediate feedback is necessary. Quick feedback is a clear indication of the fact that, when users take action they get an appropriate response. On Walmart.com when users click on ‘My Local Store’, they are instantly taken to a new page where they simply have to fill in their city, state or zip code to find the nearest store.
Keeping an Eye on Website Orientation
Different navigational clues can be provided to the users through various forms which is essential part of website orientation. Examples come in the form of sitemap, visible website elements and descriptive links on every page guiding the users on how to easily navigate to various pages. Though, only a few designers pay attention to the sitemap of a website these days but, it is an ideal way of providing orientation to users. The sitemap of ebay.com can easily help struggling users to locate the information they are looking for.
Accessibility is Crucial
Every user visits a website with the hope that the information they are seeking would be found quickly and efficiently. Thus, accessibility of the users is taken care of through things, starting from basic search feature to sitemap. Apart from that, trimming down web content into small pieces so that it can easily be digested by the users also proves to be a sensible choice. BMW, the German automobile manufacturer puts accessibility at the top of the list when it comes to its official website. Starting from the design to efficiency & dynamics to much more, information is presented to the users in a highly meaningful manner.
Make It Appealing and Pleasant
If a website is pleasant, it means that it is open to interpretation. When the users are satisfied with the interface of the website, the likelihood of gaining confidence and dependability on the information offered increases to a great extent. Tumblr is a great example of how to make a website pleasant and appealing to users. Users can simply enter the search term and get the information in a well-laid out manner. It acts as a positive experience for the users which ensure that they re-visit the website and get the information displayed in an easy and hassle free way.
Think About the Users First!
Often it has been observed that designers tend to forget that a website is ultimately being built for the users. As a result of that, they develop websites that not only frustrate and irritate the users but, turns out to be hard slogs that are extremely difficult to navigate. User-centric design depends on a lot of factors and only a consummate designer takes out the time to address every factor with equal focus and attention.
Author Bio: Hema Gupta works as an online marketing analyst at WebGuru Infosystems. In this blog she has discussed the important things to consider while designing a user-centric website. User-centricity holds the key when it comes to engaging users through easy navigability and simple to use interface.